Preopening Activities

Preopening Activities



Getting started on time is often a challenge. To help motivate your boys, tell them to try to arrive 10-15 minutes early and use these pre-opening activities to get the ball rolling. Use your Assistant Scoutmasters and Junior Leaders to help with the pre-opening activities so that you can set up for the meeting proper. There is no excuse for starting a meeting late. Teach your boys that they to be "on-time" is to be early and to Be Prepared!

The attached Preopening Activities have been compiled to assist Scout leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to encourage use of the Patrol Method at all Scout meetings and to correlate lessons taught on Sunday in priesthood meeting with activities and concepts taught to the Scouts during the weeknight activities. The term "Scouts" also refers to Varsity Scouts and Explorers, although most of these activities are better suited to the younger Scouts. The Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1 was used to give ideas to many of these activities as also were the merit badge requirements, the Boy Scout Handbook and other resources. If you have any other ideas, you can send them to Brad W. Constantine, 4613 Ottawa Court, Rocklin, CA 95765. Your ideas will be greatly appreciated.

Preopening Activities

The following Preopening Activities should be set up well in advance of the meeting time so that early arrivals will have some constructive and challenging and fun activities to do while the remainder of the Scouts arrive prior to the start of the meeting. These type of activities can be done no matter what time the Scouts arrive. The activities should cease as soon the meeting is ready to be started.

No. 1 - Guess That Merit Badge

Fill a table with various merit badges and have the scouts try and guess their names. This could be done by obtaining a copy of the poster which has all the merit badges and by either cutting out each one, leaving off the name, of covering up the names with masking tape. Have the Scouts number their page from 1 to 120 and see how many merit badges they can name. Give a prize at the end of the meeting to the Scout who named the most merit badges.

No. 2 - Disaster First Aid
Have some adults or older Scouts arrive early to the meeting and with makeup, create injuries on each person showing various first aid needs. As the Scouts arrive, let them react to the injuries as best they can with the materials that are at hand. Provide bandages, splints, and other first aid items for the Scouts to use. Give points to the Scouts who make the correct diagnosis and points for the correct treatment. Give an award at the conclusion of the meeting for the Scout with the most points. Include such things as hypothermia, heatstroke, heat exhaustion, frostbite, dehydration, sunburn, insect stings, tick bites, snakebite, blisters, and hyperventilation, various kinds of fractures. (Backpacking merit badge requirement no. 1.; First Aid requirement no. 3 e and f, and 4 and 5; Camping merit badge requirement no. 1; Canoeing merit badge requirement no. 1; Cycling requirement no. 1; Hiking merit badge requirement no.1; Rowing merit badge requirement no. 1; Sports merit badge requirement no. 1; Swimming merit badge no. 1; Waterskiing merit badge no. 1; Whitewater merit badge no. 1; Wilderness Survival merit badge no. 1)

No. 3 - Bowline Races
Have rope available and have the boys see who can tie the bowline the fastest. Make sure they learn how to tie the bowline from around their waist as though they were being rescued. At the end of the meeting, give an award to the Scout who can tie the bowline the fastest.

No. 4 - Litter Picker Upper
Have the Scouts go around the meeting building and pick up all the trash they see.

No. 5 - Is it edible or not?
Have a table filled with various edible plants. Let the Scouts taste them if they want to. Make sure each plant has a name plate with it. Show pictures of poisonous plants with names.

No. 6 - Tie that knot

Give each Scout a piece of rope when he arrives and have up to twenty different knots for him to tie. The Scout who can tie the most knots without referencing a book will win a prize at the end of the meeting. (Requirement 3 of the Pioneering merit badge.)

No. 7 - Find the Article
Fill a table with newspaper clippings of auto accidents, crimes, other accidents. Let the Scouts take the ones they like to be included in their notebooks. (Safety merit badge requirement no. 1 (a) and (b); Crime Prevention requirement no. 2)

No. 8 - Draw that Map
Have available several copies of the map of your community. Have the Scouts draw a map of your community marking the points of historical interest. (This fulfills requirement 1 (a) of the American Heritage merit badge.)

No. 9 - Tell a story with a picture
Have the Scouts tell a story by drawing a picture or pictures. Or have the Scouts draw a picture that promotes a product or an idea. (This fulfills requirements 1 and or 2 of the Art merit badge.)

No. 10 - Sketch the Moon
Have available a large picture of the full moon. Have the Scouts draw the face of the moon indicating on it the locations of at least five seas and five craters. (This fulfills requirement 1(a) of the Astronomy merit badge.)

No. 11 - Correct backpacking
Fill a table with items that could be included in a back pack for a backpacking trip. Have the Scouts select those items that should be included for a backpacking trip, leaving behind unessential items. (Backpacking merit badge requirement No. 2(a).)

No. 12 - Design a Camp
Have paper available and have the Scouts design the layout of a typical patrol campsite. The design should show cooking spots, dining fly, latrine, and at least three two-man tents. (Camping merit badge requirement no. 2)

No. 13 - What to Take on a Camping Trip
Have the Scouts list of a piece of paper all the items they should take on an overnight campout in the summer and in the winter. (Requirement no. 5 of Camping merit badge.)

No. 14 - Name that movie
Have a video playing somewhere in the middle of the movie and see if the boys can name it.

No. 15 - Your community map
Have a map of the your community that shows such facilities as the chief government buildings, such as city hall, county courthouse, and public works/services facility, fire station, police station, hospitals, schools, churches, main highways to neighboring cities and towns, railroad and bus stations, airports, chief industries or other major places of employment, historical and other points of interest. (Requirement no. 2 of the Citizenship in the Community merit badge.)

No. 16 - Make that resume
Have the Scouts write down their autobiographical resume that would be used in applying for a job. It should include a brief description of any jobs they have had, such as paper route, mowing lawns, taking care of a neighbor's yard while they were on vacation, caring for a pet, your education achieved so far, including grade point average, if known. Also have them include the names of adults they could use as a reference. (Requirement no. 7 of the Communication merit badge.)

No. 17 - I'm Important
Have the Scouts list 10 reasons why they are important to their family. (Requirement no. 1 of Family Life merit badge.)

No. 18 - Leave your mark
Have available fingerprint identification cards (8 by 8 inch). Have the Scouts each take a clear set of fingerprints. (Requirement no. 1 of the Fingerprinting merit badge.)

No. 19 - My Family
Have available to the Scout pedigree charts. Have them write on the chart as many family members as they know of parents, grandparents, and great grandparents, including dates and places of birth and death. (Genealogy merit badge requirement no. 2.)

No. 20 - Name that Plant
Have on a table leaves from various plants and trees. Number them and have the Scouts write on a piece of paper the name of the plant next to the number. The Scout with the most correct answers gets a prize at the end of the meeting. (Requirement 6 of First Class; Nature merit badge 4(b))

No. 21 - Find your Pace
Set up a 300 meter course and have the Scouts figure out how many running paces it takes for 100 meters. (Requirement 5(b) of Orienteering merit badge.)

No. 22 - Throw that Rope
Have a 40 foot length of rope. Allow the Scouts to take turns coiling and throwing the rope. (Requirement 1 of Pioneering merit badge.)

No. 23 - The Collection
Have one of the Scouts bring a collection he has for demonstration. Let the Scout look over the collection before the meeting starts.

No. 24 - The Tent
Have a tent set up in the room for the Scouts to look at. This should show the proper way to set up a tent, including ground cloth, pegs, tether lines, etc.

No. 25 - The Model Camp Site
Set up a model campsite for the Scouts to examine including tents, cooking equipment, patrol box, eating table, etc.

No. 26 - The Pants Pack
Have available for inspection a pants pack. See page 167 of the Boy Scout Handbook.

No. 27 - The NFL Quiz
Give a copy of the NFL quiz to each Scout and let him work on it until the meeting starts.

No. 28 - Name that Bug
Have someone that has an insect collection bring it to the meeting and put it on display for the boys to look at prior to the meeting. If possible, have them guess the names of the bugs. The one with the most correct names wins a prize at the end of the meeting.

No. 29 - 3D Pictures
Bring one or two "3D" posters for the boys to look at and guess what they are.

No. 30 - Nail in a bottle of coke
Place a nail in a bottle of coke or some other cola drink. Let in stand for several days or until the nail begins to react with the drink. Have this available for the Scouts to see what affect cola drinks may have on their insides.

No. 31 - Name that Quote
Have some famous quotes on a sheet of paper with the person on the opposite side of the page. Have them match the quote to the person who made the quote. (See page 464 in the Boy Scout Handbook.)

No. 32 - Unscramble the Words
Write or type out the Pledge of Allegiance or another well known statement or quote. Then cut out each word and mix them up on a table. Let the Scouts put the words back in the proper order.

No. 33 - Can You Name That Flag?
Have several versions of the flags that have flown over the United States since the 1700's. Have the Scouts see how many of them can name. Give a prize to the Scout who names the most. (See pages 471-472 of the Boy Scout Handbook.)

No. 34 - Can you Guess?
Have a jar full of beads or some other small items and have the Scouts guess how many are in the jar. Give a prize to the Scout that comes closest to guessing the correct amount.

No. 35 - Guess that Height
Have the Scouts determine the height of a tree, flagpole, or some other object. The Scout that guesses the closest wins a prize.

No. 36 - Find the Way
Set up a small compass course or treasure hunt with clues to find the meeting room.

No. 37 - Write to a Missionary
Have the Scouts write a letter to a missionary from the ward.

No. 38 - Puzzling
Have the Scouts put together a large jigsaw puzzle, working together as a team.

No. 39 - Name Your Duties
List the duties of a deacon and cut them out and put them on a table. Have them select those duties that pertain to a deacon only. Duties include: passing the sacrament, gathering fast offerings, serve as the bishop's messenger, care for the grounds and physical facilities of the church, assist in service projects or welfare assignments as assigned by the bishop, watch over the Church and act as standing ministers, be involved in missionary and reactivation efforts, assist teachers in all their duties as needed, give talks in Church meetings. Put on the list such items as; bless the sacrament, act as an usher during sacrament meeting, baptize, ordain other deacons, set apart the quorum president. These would be items they would not include as duties of the deacon. (See pages 4-5 of AARONIC PRIESTHOOD MANUAL 1.)

No. 40 - Recite the Article of Faith
Before the Scouts can enter the meeting, have them recite from memory an Article of Faith. This could be a different one each night. Have copies of the Article available for them to study and memorize.

No. 41 - Make your Decision
Have two people at the door of the meeting. One is yelling and trying to get the Scout to go down the hall instead of going in to the meeting. One is whispering that he should go into the meeting. If he chooses to go down the hall, have someone there hand him a boulder that he must carry with him for the rest of the meeting. Reward those who entered the meeting without the boulder with a piece of candy, a bead, or some other prized object.

No. 42 - Choices and Consequences
Put on one side of a piece of paper the heading "CHOICES" and under the heading such items as stay up late at night, sleep in, go to bed early, get up early in the morning, don't do my homework, finish my homework, exercise regularly, don't exercise at all, obey the Word of Wisdom, break the Word of Wisdom, go to Church on Sunday, don't go to Church on Sunday, play sports on Sunday, stay home with family on Sunday, fast with a purpose, don't fast, pray every morning and night, don't pray, control my anger, don't control my anger, be kind to others, be mean to others, read good books, play video/computer games, think clean thoughts, entertain unclean thoughts. On the other side of the page put as the heading "CONSEQUENCES" and have the Scouts fill in the consequence next to each "choice."

No. 43 - My Dad
Have the Scouts write on a piece of paper ten things they like most about their fathers. After they have done this, encourage them to take the paper home with them and tell their dads what they wrote.
No. 44 - My Mom
Have the Scouts write on a piece of paper ten things they like most about their mothers. After they have done this, encourage them to take the paper home with them and tell their moms what they wrote.

No. 45 - A Scout is Trustworthy
Have the Scouts write on a piece of paper what it means to them to be Trustworthy.

No. 46 - A Scout is Loyal

Have the Scouts write on a piece of paper what it means to them to be Loyal.

No. 47 - A Scout is Helpful
Have the Scouts write on a piece of paper what it means to them to be Helpful.

No. 48 - A Scout is Friendly
Have the Scouts write on a piece of paper what it means to them to be Friendly.

No. 49 - A Scout is Courteous
Have the Scouts write on a piece of paper what it means to them to be Courteous.

No. 50 - A Scout is Kind
Have the Scouts write on a piece of paper what it means to them to be Kind.

No. 51 - A Scout is Obedient
Have the Scouts write on a piece of paper what it means to them to be Obedient.

No. 52 - A Scout is Cheerful
Have the Scouts write on a piece of paper what it means to them to be Cheerful.

No. 53 - A Scout is Thrifty
Have the Scouts write on a piece of paper what it means to them to be Thrifty.

No. 54 - A Scout is Brave
Have the Scouts write on a piece of paper what it means to them to be Brave.

No. 55 - A Scout is Clean
Have the Scouts write on a piece of paper what it means to them to be Clean.

No. 56 - A Scout is Reverent
Have the Scouts write on a piece of paper what it means to them to be Reverent.

No. 57 - Name That Prophet
Have the Scouts list on a piece of paper as many of the Presidents of the Church in this dispensation as they can. Give a prize to the Scout who has the most correctly listed.

No. 58 - Be a Missionary
Have the Scouts write down the names of some of their non-member friends who might be interested in becoming a Scout. Encourage the Scouts to invite their friends to the next appropriate meeting.

No. 59 - Do a Good Turn
Have the Scouts write down on a piece of paper several good deeds they could do for their family members. Have them report in priesthood meeting what kind acts they performed and the response from their family.

No. 60 - Who Am I?
Prepare sheets of paper with the name of several famous people. As the Scouts arrive to the meeting, tape the name on their backs without their knowing the name. They must then ask questions of each other to try and guess their name. Once they have guessed their name they may take the name off of their back and put it on their front. You might call on several Scouts as part of the opening ceremony to report on what they learned about their famous person from the questions they asked each other.